Marks a Record of 8 Commercial Missions in 2010 for ILS

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2010 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing launch services to the commercial space industry, successfully carried the KA-SAT satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France on an ILS Proton. The ILS Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:51 a.m. local time (4:51 p.m. EST, 10:51 p.m. in Paris on December 26).  After a 9 hour 12 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the KA-SAT satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

The launch of the KA-SAT satellite marks the 8th ILS Proton launch of the year; a record number of commercial launches for ILS. This was also the 64th commercial launch to date for ILS and the 12th Proton launch for the year. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian aerospace industry and majority owner of ILS. Proton has a heritage of 363 missions since its maiden flight in 1965.

The 6150 kg KA-SAT satellite was built on the Eurostar E3000 platform by Astrium and has a 15 year life expectancy.  With its total capacity of 70 Gbps, KA-SAT is ranked as the world’s most powerful satellite and will be situated at Eutelsat’s 9 degrees East location. Through a configuration of 82 spot beams and a ground infrastructure of ten gateways connected to the Internet, KA-SAT will provide service across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

Frank McKenna, president of ILS said, “We worked very closely with Eutelsat and Astrium to ensure the successful launch of the KA-SAT satellite on ILS Proton. We are honored to play an important role in the deployment of innovative programs and technologies such as KA-SAT, the first European satellite that will operate exclusively in high capacity Ka-band frequencies. We thank Eutelsat for relying on ILS Proton once again to deliver their spacecraft securely into orbit.”

“We are pleased to continue our long term relationship with ILS with the launch of KA-SAT on the powerful Proton Breeze M rocket. The launch of this High Throughput Satellite marks the opening of a new era for satellite-delivered broadband and data services across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. It is also new evidence of Eutelsat’s commitment to innovation that broadens the scope of satellite-based services in a rapidly-expanding digital economy. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to the entire team of ILS, Khrunichev and Astrium, for their tireless work on this mission,” said Michel de Rosen, CEO of Eutelsat.


Russia’s Proton-M orbits European KA-SAT communications satellite

27.12.2010, 11.05

MOSCOW, December 27 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket, which was launched at 00:51 a.m. Moscow time from the Baikonur spaceport, has successfully orbited Europe’s first new generation communications satellite KA-SAT, a spokesman for the Khrunichev state research and production space centre told Itar-Tass.

According to Alexander Bobrenev, the KA-SAT satellite separated from the Briz-M upper stage rocket at 10:03 a.m. Moscow time. The satellite will be put on the geostationary orbit at a point of nine degrees of eastern longitude.

The KA-SAT communication satellite was manufactured by the French company Astrium under the order from the European satellite communication operator Eutelsat. The satellite is designed for the high-speed Internet connection in isolated districts of Europe and the Mediterranean region, where ground optical fibre cables are not laid down yet. The service life of the satellite exceeds 15 years. The satellite weight is 6,150 kilograms.

The Proton-M rocket and the Briz-M booster unit are products of The Khrunichev state research and production space centre. The three-stage liquid-fuel rocket weighs about 700 tons. International Launch Services, or ILS, markets Proton rockets, while the Khrunichev space centre owns a controlling stake in that company.

“The launch will was the twelfth launch of the Proton-M carrier rocket in 2010 and the 363d in its entire history,” the spokesman for the Khrunichev space centre said. It was ILS’ eighth launch in 2010 and the 64th since the beginning of commercial use of Proton launch vehicles in April 1996. The year 2010 was a record-breaking one in terms of the number of Proton commercial launches.

Initially the launch of Proton rocket with the KA-SAT satellite was scheduled for December 20, but it was delayed over the failed launch on December 5, when three Glonass satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Shortly after investigators found out that the abortive launch was caused by the fact that too much fuel had been pumped into the fuel tanks of the DM-3 upper stage, the preparation for the launch of KA-SAT was continued.

For Russia this will be the 31st launch of carrier rockets in 2010.


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